Former Pope Benedict Is Very Sick , Pope Francis Says

Former Pope Benedict XVI, 95, who in 2013 became the first pontiff in 600 years to step down, is very sick.

Former Pope Benedict Is Very Sick , Pope Francis Says
Pope Benedict XVI

His successor Pope Francis disclosed this on Wednesday, asking the church to pray for him.

The Vatican later said in a statement Benedict had suffered a sudden “worsening” of his health in recent hours. He also said his condition was “under control” and that he was receiving constant medical attention.

“I would like to ask all of you for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who, in silence, is sustaining the Church,” Francis said.

“Let’s ask the Lord to comfort him and sustain him in this testimony of love to the church to the very end,” Pope Francis added.

Former Pope Benedict Is Very Sick , Pope Francis Says
Pope Francis meet with Pope Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI was the pope from April 19, 2005, until his resignation on February 28, 2013.

Benedict, the first German pope in 1,000 years, succeed the widely popular Pope John Paul II, who reigned after 27 years.

Since his resignation, Benedict has been living in a former convent inside the Vatican gardens, with his secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, and a few other aides and medical staff.

Benedict announced his intention to resign on Feb. 11, 2013, shocking a meeting of cardinals. He said he no longer had the physical and mental strength to run the Church.

He formally stepped down on Feb. 28 that year, moving temporarily to the papal summer residence south of Rome while cardinals from around the world came to Rome to choose his successor.

Francis, the first pope from Latin America, was elected to succeed him on March 13, 2013.

Cardinals chose him from among their number seeking continuity and what one called “a safe pair of hands”.

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